Dynamics of Consumer Behavior In The Modern

In the field of consumer research, it has been found that the members of the family play an important role in making most of the buying decisions related to the products. In the current era, it is seen that the children in the family are the key influencer in making buying decisions for the products in the family. Thus, to understand their role and develop concept related to family and family life-cycle the essay has been farmed. Moreover, the essay is aimed to understand the changing role of children in family decision-making of buying products and implementation being made by marketers in this respect.

Family is referred to a social group of individuals who are related either by affinity, consanguinity or co-residence (Chaudhary, 2016). The concept of family is relevant to the marketer as either or both of the parents earns for the rest of the dependent members (children) in the family. The dependent members who are the teenagers and children use the money from the parents to buy products as well as influence parents through their assertiveness to buy specific choice of products (Sharma and Sonwaney, 2014). This means the marketers require having relevant information and concept regarding the children and their role in the family in respect to buying goods to ensure better marketing prospects. Moreover, it is seen that children are becoming independent and use considerable amount of money from parents to buy clothes or other things for self as well as for the family (Muralidharan et al. 2016). Thus, marketers require having knowledge regarding the changing lifestyle preferences of children has in the family that is influencing the family decision-making of buying products. (Refer to Appendix 1)

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The family buying decision changes with progress in the stages of the family life cycle due to influence of different characteristics. The traditional family life-cycle involves of 5 stages which are bachelorhood, honeymooners, parenthood, post-parenthood and dissolution (Godwin, 2013). In bachelorhood, a single adult is involved who live apart from their parents. As mentioned by Erdis and du Toit (2014), in bachelorhood, the individuals have low earnings but have higher level of disposable income. This is because at this stage of family life-cycle the individuals have increased financial and career building burdens but have low amount of responsibilities of the family to be served. At this stage, the individuals are the grown-up children who used to have influence over their family decision-making. The grown-up children at this stage are seen to have no influence on the family members in making buying decision as they live apart and have rare contact with the family members.

The honeymooner stage of family life-cycle initiates with a newly married couple until their first child is born (Funk et al. 2016). During this phase, either or both of the spouses are found to be working. In case both are working they have discretionary income at hand which they spend to purchase things to maintain a good lifestyle along with executing savings for future. In this phase, since no children are born they do not have influence on the family to change their decision-making while buying products. Thus, at this stage, the family purchases products according to their preference and needs through evaluation of quality.

The parenthood stage initiates with married couples having children and the stage is sub-divided into Full Nest I, II and III (Kurajdová, 2014). In each of the sub-stages, the growing influence of the children is perceived among the family members which diverts the elders to buy things that are asserted or suggested by the children. The Full Nest I stage involves the child who is below six years of age (Erdis and du Toit, 2014). The expenses are high at this stage with lower amount of liquid cash to spend (Funk et al. 2016). The family buying decision-making is influenced by the children at this stage by making the family cornered to purchase products and brands which are beneficial and healthy for the children to help them live a longer and safe life. Thus, the marketers at this stage focus on what makes the child safer to have in the family to ensure effective marketing of their products.

The Full Nest II starts when the youngest child is above six years and extends until the child becomes twelve. At this stage, the key preferences are education of the children, clothes of children, insurance policies and others. In case both the spouse are working the children becomes latchkey kids where the kids have no parental supervision for them (Godwin, 2013). The children in this stage are seen to highly influence the family purchase decision as they put forth their opinion towards their preferable brands and products to be bought by the family members. The family gives in because the parents wish to fulfil the wish of the children to make them feel supported and loved by them. For instance, at this stage, the latchkey kids are seen to have wish for having junk foods such as burgers, pizza, ice cream and others which their parents buy for them to show love and support.

The Full Nest III involves older married couples who are either dependent or independent of their children and the elder child even may initiate to earn (Erdis and du Toit, 2014). The income of the family increases as well as the expenses. The children at this stage influence the family members to buy things according to their preference as they become the manager of the household. Moreover, the parents listen and purchase as suggested by the children because they believe the children have better knowledge about the quality and kinds of goods to be best purchased in the market to manage the household in a proper manner. Moreover, the parents due to their old age become dependent on the children and thus get influenced by them to buy as per instructed.

The Postparenthood is the one in which the child has left home for education or employment and the couples are left alone. This can be further sub-divided into Empty Nest I and Empty Nest II. In Empty Nest, I, one of the children seen to have self-established and the parents are left working to earn on their own (Nurdini and Harun, 2017). At this phase, since all the children have no direct contact with the parents and other family members thus they have less influence on their buying decision. The parents ask for suggestion to choose for purchasing products, the children then suggest them specific brands of their choice. At Empty Nest II, all the children are found to leave home and the couples are seen to live on their own expenses or on society investments (Killewald and García-Manglano, 2016). The children during this stage have no influence on the family buying decision as the family members are not more burden or are in direct contact with them to get influenced to change their decision. The Dissolution is the last stage of the family life-cycle when one of the spouses dies leaving behind the other (Braver et al. 2018). In this phase, the key priorities are healthcare facility. The individuals in case are dependent on their children have to solely purchase products according to their choice as they do not have physical or emotional capability to prefer for things they wish to buy.

In the recent years, it is seen that children goes on living with their parents long after they are self-established to take care of them in the adult stage (Flax, 2018). Thus, the influence of the children which was previously perceived to be low on the decision making of buying products by the parents in the postparenthood stage of Empty Nest I have increased. This is because the children remain in direct contact with the parents by living with them in their home taking collaborative decision to purchase things required for their livelihood. As commented by Vogler (2015), elders after their retirement are seen to prefer to live in old age and retirement homes. This is because they feel better care and support is given to them than the nature of support received from their children at this stage. Thus, it has also led to diminish the extent of influence children have on their parents in the Empty Nest II stage as the parents do not always be their burden or live with them to remain in direct contact so that their buying decision are influenced by the children.

The family buying decision-making process is dependent on the buying roles performed by each member. The buying roles include initiator, influencer, buyer, decider and user (Godwin, 2013). In case the products bought are to be used by the child, the parent plays the role of initiator who through the influence of the child’s assertiveness towards certain brand or product decided to buy it. The family buying decision is also influenced through joint decision-making where the child by consulting with the parents and vice-versa the products are purchased as the thing bought is equally important for both of them (Schor, 2014). For instance, the parent and the child jointly decide to buy TV of a particular brand so that they can equally enjoy.

The changing role of children in influencing family to make purchase decision-making is seen to be one of the key concerns for the marketers. This is because the marketers are required to develop strategies accordingly to attract the children to make them influence their family to ensure better marketing of their products. As mentioned by Philomena (2015), in the contemporary times the family-buying decision is seen to be the outcome of the joint effort of the child and parent where the child plays multiple and significant roles in purchasing products needed by the family or for the child's needs. This means that the child role of being the onlooker has changed to decision-makers as well as influencer for the family in buying products.

In the study of Sharma and Sonwaney (2014), it is mentioned that the products such as ready-to-eat cereals for breakfast may not be directly available for the child and the parents are seen to play intermediately role. In such instances, the child influence on the parent to buy a certain brand or products is based on two factors which are parent child-centeredness and child’s assertiveness. The more assertive a child is towards a product or the more child-centred a parent is the family is seen to be oriented towards buying the product according to the choice of the child. This is because the parents wish to fulfil the child’s demand. As argued by Isin and Alkibay (2011), parents may initially avoid the product to be bought according to the choice of the child. This is because they doubt about the nutrient quality of the cereal or extent and nature of information possessed by the child regarding the product. However, they later give in as they wish to show support and love to the child by considering their decision. As asserted by Šramová (2015), children are going to pre-established preference over certain food product and brand based on the premium incentives provided by the product and not on their nutrient value. Thus, marketers are required to and are already seen to implement premium incentives such as toys, gift cards and others for children to make them attract towards their brands so that the children influence the family with their preference to buy the product. For instance, McDonald’s offer “Happy Meal” for children with customary free toys which makes the children prefer the fast food giant to influence their parents to buy food for them as well as the family (www.mcdonalds.com, 2018). Moreover, the Lucky Charms cereals provides kids with compulsory free toys which make the child prefer them and influence the family to buy for them (www.dailymail.co.uk, 2013).

In the contemporary world, the grown-up children are seen to be highly involved in watching television and searching information in the social media and websites. This leads them to develop adequate and effective information about various products or brand (Shergill et al. 2013). The knowledge developed is used by them to persuade their parents and family members to buy products according to their choice. The parents accept the child’s preferences because they think that they have more valid information than them regarding the quality and performance of the product as well as brands. As argued by Gregory et al. (2017), the advertisement in television and information in the media may be manipulative in nature that could not be found out by the children as they lack effective cognitive skills to save themselves from the cunning and appealing messages. In such cases, considering the child’s decision for preferring a certain brand may be unproductive or waste of money by the family. However, in most cases, it is seen that family initially considers the preference of the grown-up child in buying the product without analysing the authenticity of the information they have as they believe in them. For example, while making purchase of electronic goods the preference of the child is considered mostly by the parents because they think that in the present generation the kids are more technologically updated to offer them good advice on purchasing best electronic goods.

The marketers with the changing role of children in influencing their parents to buy electronic goods are seen to make their advertisement more informative about the updated technological specification of their product (Beneke et al. 2011). This is because the children presently choose the electronic goods or brand which have advanced technological upgradtion in their products. Thus, the marketers of the electronic products are required to implement better information about the upgraded technology used in their products to effectively attract consumers for their better market prospect. As commented by Dikcius et al. (2016), the influencing roles of the children are found in situations where the parents are less involved in the purchase or have inability to differentiate between products for family consumption. This is because the parents in such cases consider the decision of the children as final as they do not have time or information to consider their personal choice while consuming products. Thus, the marketers in this cases require to consider their marketing ideas to be made by focusing on what is going to attract the self-dependent children in their products so that the family purchases from them. This is because children can be easily

In the present era, it is seen that both the parents are busy in their professional life to earn money and has less influence or direct contact with the children on a daily basis. Thus, in such cases, the children become responsible for making purchases for the family and themselves based on their own perception. In this situation, the purchase made by the children is often lower in price (Kumar, 2013). For example, children living with both working parents are often left alone at home and they purchase fast food according to their choice by using the money given by the parents. The marketers, in this case, require implementing their marketing ideas in such a way so that they can prove to provide safe services and products to the children without causing any hindrance. This is going to influence the children to avail their services without any opposition from the parents. As stated by Eekelaar (2017), the children are more oriented to get attracted to brands and products that have attractive packaging. This is because for them visually attracting products are meaningful. Thus, in the present situation where children are influencing the family buying decision the marketers require to develop attractive packaging of their products to successfully capture the market.

The above discussion informs children are seen to have most influence on the family in the parenthood stage to make the family develop buying decision according to their preferences. The children are able to develop influence on the family in making buying decision because the family thinks that children have more information regarding products from advertisement in television and information on the internet in the contemporary world. Thus, the marketers are required to develop the advertisement in such a way so that the children are attracted along with has to develop attractive packaging of the products to effectively establish their market in the present situation where children influence their family’s buying decision.

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